Ziyech makes "difficult" admission about his first season in English football


Hakim Ziyech admits it has been a “difficult” first season at Chelsea.

But Ziyech believes it could finish in spectacular fashion after motormouth Thomas Tuchel helped the squad learn to laugh again.

Former Ajax playmaker Ziyech, 28, has been beset by injuries, a tough year adapting to English football and yet is enjoying himself under Tuchel with the club in the semi final of both the FA Cup and Champions League while chasing a place in the top four.

But Ziyech says he has never come across a manager quite like Tuchel before and that has given the whole squad belief they can beat quadruple-chasing Manchester City at Wembley.

Ziyech said: “I’ve never had a coach who has been like this, I think the coaches I had most of the time were more quiet.

“I think that’s only good for the players to keep them sharp and I think that’s the most important.



Ziyech has struggled with injuries this season
Ziyech has struggled with injuries this season

“Most of the time we are playing the game but he’s also really in it [with us] and emotional wise, sometimes it’s good but sometimes you also think like ‘ooh calm down’ [laughs] but I think it’s good for everybody.

“He comes with new ideas, new plans, and always coming over to the group, it’s really good. Everybody understands and everybody knows what’s his job and it works.

“He loves to laugh, but always wants us to work hard and then of course, we can have fun and stuff like that and enjoy ourselves, but when there has to be work then it has to be serious as well.

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“Sometimes he likes to joke, sometimes he likes [that] but sometimes he’s serious as well.”

Ziyech has never been to Wembley let alone played there, admits the FA Cup was not really special before he arrived in England but scored in the last round against Sheffield United and played at Barnsley in the fifth round.



Ziyech says Tuchel "loves to laugh" with his players
Ziyech says Tuchel “loves to laugh” with his players

The competition has allowed him to get some momentum at Chelsea because it has not really worked out the way he expected.

Ziyech arrived last summer and was expected to form partnerships with fellow new arrivals Kai Havertz and Timo Werner but the trio have rarely played together while the ex-Ajax star says English football takes a lot of getting used to.

“It’s been a difficult season. With adaptation and everything around injuries, playing then a couple of games not playing then playing,” said Ziyech.

“I think the intensity more, it’s not really the style. It’s more about the rhythm and sometimes you think you have the rhythm, and then you have a setback.

“So it took some time. I always have to believe in myself, so I’m not really loud about it, but I just keep going and keep working. That’s the only thing that I can do, and then the rest will come by itself.”

Former boss Frank Lampard compared Ziyech to ex-Chelsea star Eden Hazard while he was known by the Ajax fans as the Wizard of Amsterdam. All Ziyech wants is the fans back in to make their own minds up.

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Ziyech added: “I’m not comparing myself to those kinds of things, it’s nice to hear but I can do nothing with it. Because in the end we are all players and I mean like what Hazard did here is different level.

“For me it doesn’t matter really. I just want to play football and enjoy myself on the pitch and then something will come up for sure and we’ll see what it is going to be. It’s also a little bit weird to play without fans, so I’m enjoying it more when the fans are in the stadium than without.”





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